Today was day 35 of my “Bible in 90 Days” reading program. I am still on track! 9 more days and I’ll be at the halfway point! My blogging suffered a little bit when we went out of town, but I have still been reading my assigned passage daily. It feels good to be on track, and I am loving the time spent in the Word. Here are a few notes from my reading of the past couple weeks:
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 1 Kings 3:5-13.
Wisdom. It’s what Solomon is famous for. To be offered whatever you want, and to choose wisdom – how awesome is that? I could use a dose myself lately. The pre-teen years are upon us, and honestly, I am floundering. It’s so hard be a parent sometimes. I am doing my best to try and raise Godly women, but progress is hard to gauge. Each day has a struggle. I do pray for wisdom.
I have always loved the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. This part cracks me up:
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 1 Kings 18:27-29
I can just see him mocking the prophets. And what a great moment of truth, when the one true God sent fire from above and consumed the watered down sacrifice!
An excerpt from the story of Naaman:
9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
2 Kings 5:9-14
I think we can learn a lot about dealing with our struggles from Naaman. Sometimes we expect a great miraculous event, when really the answer is simple. We want a magic pill to help us lose weight, when the simple answer is to exercise and eat less. We want to go through some famous Bible study or get caught up in the charisma of the latest “godly fad” to bring us closer to God, when the simple answer is still to pray and read your Bible. The point is not to make things harder on ourselves – just to do what we know is right.
1 and 2 Kings through 1 and 2 Chronicles go through the list of kings and rulers pretty quickly, and there are some interesting stories. I love how again and again, we see God give the Israelites “another chance.” Not only that, but we learn that prayer can change the mind of God.
1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. 2 Kings 20:1-6
Our God is not one without feeling. And on top of that, he HEALS.
I love that David, the man after God’s own heart, saw the benefit of praise! He set apart jobs for the sole purpose of singing and praising God. He had a 288-man praise team!
6 All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God.
Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. 7 Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD—they numbered 288. 8 Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties.
I don’t know about you, but my spirit is always lifted by singing praises to God. I definitely leave feeling fuller after worship than I did before I started. Praising God through song gives me joy, and I’m glad that David recognized the importance of music in service to God.
David wasn’t the only ruler who appointed people to praise. There were other godly kings who followed in his ways.
Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21
Another thing we learn from the story of the kings, is that young people can serve in important roles too:
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
2 Chron. 34:1-2
By the time Josiah was a teenager, he was seeking God and purging Judah of ungodly things. He had the book of the Law read in his presence after it had been missing for many years, and he humbled himself and had a responsive heart. It’s hard to fathom someone so young being in charge of a nation, but Josiah did an awesome job. I think even today we have much to learn from the pure and sincere hearts of children.
6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. Ezra 10:6
Has a sin ever troubled you so much that you mourned or fasted? I think fasting is an interesting topic. You know even in the New Testament, Jesus said “WHEN you fast…”, not “IF you fast”. Fasting is something that I have done, but not frequently. To take your focus off your physical needs for a moment to fully concentrate on feeding yourself spiritually is to me what fasting is all about. What about you? Have you ever fasted? Did you find it rewarding? I think it’s something that we need to do more of in the body of Christ, and in my personal daily walk.
So, those are some of my thoughts as of late. I know there’s nothing earth-shattering or profound, but just some things that have been on my mind. I hope you are finding my journey through the Bible is encouraging. It’s been a big help for me to put some thoughts to “paper” so to speak as I go through my readings.